Mini Cooper Parts Catalog Mini Cooper Accessories Catalog Mini Cooper Technical Articles Mini Cooper Tech Forums
 
Follow Pelican Parts on Facebook Follow Pelican Parts on Twitter Follow Pelican Parts on Instagram Follow Pelican Parts on YouTube Follow Pelican Parts on Pinterest Follow Pelican Parts on Tumblr
  Search our site:    
View Recent Cars  |   Cart  | Project List | Order Status | Help    
Get FREE Ground Shipping with the purchase of $75 in qualifying parts!
 

Bookmark and Share

 


Pelican Technical Article:
Serpentine Belt Replacement

Jared Fenton
 

 
Time: 1 hour
Tab: $10-$30
Talent:  
Tools:
Serpentine Belt Tool, Retaining pin for tensioner, flat-head screwdriver
Applicable Models:
R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06)
R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R55/R56/R57 Cooper/Cooper S (2007-12)
Parts Required:
Serpentine belt
Hot Tip:
Carry a spare belt with you in case of failure
Performance Gain:
No squeaky engine or water pump failure
Complementary Modification:
Replace belt tensioner
 
   

  This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI. The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is expected to be released in 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.
 

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
   
     One of the routine maintenance items that you should perform on your MINI is the checking and replacement of your serpentine belt.  The belt is driven off of the crankshaft and turns accessories such as the water pump (on Cooper models), supercharger/water pump (on Cooper S models), alternator, and air conditioning compressor.  The belt should be checked periodically (every 3,000 miles, or when you change your oil).

     Both the Cooper and Cooper S use what is known as a poly-ribbed belt (having many channels or ribs on the underside of the belt).  The poly-ribbed belt setup utilizes a spring-loaded belt tensioner pulley that provides the proper tension for the belt at all times, making adjustment unnecessary.

     When inspecting your belt, the one thing that you want to look for is cracks. If you see any cracks at all, you should replace your belt immediately.  The cracks will usually occur on the inside of the belt (the surface that typically rides on the surface of the pulley).  With the poly-ribbed belt, replacement is relatively simple.  The tension that holds the belt tight can be released using a specialized tool. The tensioners rotate different directions on both the Cooper and the Cooper S, so you will have to rotate the tensioner clockwise or counter-clockwise depending upon your particular car.  The description of this process is one of those things that is difficult to describe, but very easy to perform. First, you must remove the fuel tank vent valve which is located above the tensioner on both the Cooper and Cooper S. (See Figure 2) Squeeze the tabs on both the top and bottom to remove the connections. (See Figure 3 and Figure 4 ) Underneath the valve you will also see an electrical plug that must be disconnected. Pull the tab on the side of the plug and pull it off. (See Figure 5) Lastly, push the tab to the side of the valve and remove it from the engine. (See Figure 6)

     After the valve has been removed, remove the inner fender liner on the passenger side of the car. This is held in place with a series of plastic tabs called expanding rivets. These have a Phillips head screw in the center that drives the pins of the lower base part outward when tightened. These “fingers” hold the rivet in place. You may need to counterhold the lower base piece while you loosen and remove the plastic Phillips head screws in the center. Once all of these rivets are removed, you can remove the inner fender liner. (see Figure 8)

     The removable liners are a neat bit of engineering on the part of MINI. Once they are removed, you gain a lot more access to the various engine and suspension components on the car. With them removed you can see the various components tucked away under the fenders. In my opinion, it is yet another cool example of how BMW tried to remain true to Sir Alec Issigonis’ concept of space-saving in the original Mini.

       With the fender liners removed, you can see the serpentine belt routing much more clearly. The tensioner is accessed from above the main frame rail. Place the serpentine belt tool over the tensioner and rotate clockwise (Cooper) or counter-clockwise (Cooper S) - will become immediately apparent how the tensioner releases the belt. You will see that on both models, there are two small holes on the tensioner arm that become visible once the arm is collapsed. Use the tool to release the tension on the belt from the tensioner. (See Figure 9) Once the second hole protrudes from the tensioner, stick the retaining pin through it. (see Figure 10)

     Once the tensioner is pinned, the belt will be loose enough to allow removal from off the various pulleys. (see Figure 14) It’s a good idea to take note of the routing of the belt before removal. This will aid in making sure you route the new one correctly. Another tip - if the belt is worn, simply release the tension on it, and snip it with some large tin cutters to pull it out of the car.

     The procedure for changing the serpentine belt on the non-supercharged Cooper models is virtually the same, except that the tensioner is different. In this picture, you can see the special tool used for the Cooper to retract the tensioner as well as the lock pin. To retract the belt tensioner on the Cooper, place the forks of the belt tool over the ear of the tensioner and press the tensioner back until you can insert the locking pin into the hole on the side of the tensioner. Once in place, you can let the tension off the belt tool and the tensioner is locked. You can now remove the belt.

     Installation of the new belt is easy.  Simply slide the new belt onto the pulleys and release the tension on the tensioner.  Check to make sure that the belt is securely seated in all of the pulleys. Verify that the ribbed portion of the belt is set against the crankshaft pulley.

     Replace the fender liner and re-install the rivets that you removed from the outside of the liner and also the fuel tank vent valve Now, start the car and peek in at the belts to see that the belt is turning smoothly on all of the pulleys.

     The procedure for changing the belt on the R55/R56/R57 MINIs is different than the R50/R52/R53 cars. You’ll need to first remove the left front headlight. Loosen and remove the four 10mm bolts holding it in place. Once free, squeeze the connector on the back of the headlight to unplug it from the car (See Figure 16).

     In order to access the serpentine belt tensioner, we will need to remove the upper support panel which MINI refers to as a “lock carrier”. From the left side of the carrier, remove the two 13mm bolts at the end of the panel, then remove the 10mm bolt next to the headlight. Next, remove the two Torx bolts holding the left hood catch to the panel. Finally, remove the two plastic pins securing the front grille to the panel. (See Figure 17)

     Now move to the right side of the lock carrier. Remove the two 13mm bolts at the end of the panel. Remove the 10mm bolt next to the headlight and the two Torx bolts holding the left hood catch to the panel. Now remove the two plastic pins securing the front grille to the panel and lift the grille off. Also remove the four 10mm bolts holding the right headlight in place and squeeze the black plastic connector on the back to disconnect it from the car (See Figure 18). You’ll also want to locate the small black plastic lock pin holding the washer fluid reservoir to the lock carrier. Pull the center part of the pin out to release the reservoir (See Figure 19).

     The last step to remove the lock bridge is to disconnect the hood release cable. Pry open the end of the black plastic connector. Inside, you’ll see the cable assembly. Pull the end of the cable out of the housing and remove the metal ball from the connector. Once free, pry the plastic connector piece up and out of the lock bridge. Carefully feed it through the hole while you remove the lock carrier (See Figure 20).

     Now jack the front of the car up and secure it on jackstands. Remove the right front tire and begin to remove the wheel housing liner. This is held in place by plastic Phillips screws, one Phillips dzus-type screw, one 10mm plastic nut, and two Torx screws. Once all the fasteners have been removed, carefully remove the liner from inside the wheel well (See Figure 21).

     From inside the engine compartment, use a 30mm wrench to turn the belt tensioner assembly clockwise. Once fully turned, press the small pin (green arrow) in. This will lock the belt tensioner and slacken the belt (See Figure 22). You may find this a little difficult as there is little space to work with inside.

     From inside the wheel well, locate the small plastic pull tab located on the water pump friction wheel. NOTE: It will be difficult to see this as it’s tucked up inside between the chassis and engine. Pull the tab out as far as it will go. This will release the tension on the belt which rides in between the friction wheel and the crankshaft pulley. Now snake the old belt out from inside the engine bay. Take the new belt and fit it over all the pulleys, re-secure the pull tab up inside the friction wheel and rotate the belt tensioner clockwise again. As you do, it will release the locking pin. Now just re-install the wheel, wheel liner, lock carrier and headlights (See Figure 23).

     Once the headlights have been re-installed, you will need to re-adjust them. If you have Xenon lights, you’ll first need to make sure that the car has a full tank of fuel, then have someone weighing around 165lbs sit in the driver’s seat. Now turn the lights on and wait 80 seconds for the headlight self-leveling system to stabilize.

     Now find the two adjuster screws behind the headlight on either side. The inboard screw adjusts the vertical plane while the outboard screw adjusts the horizontal plane. You’ll want to adjust both screws until both lights are adjusted correctly.
Shown here is the belt tensioner tool.
Figure 1
Shown here is the belt tensioner tool. It’s really difficult to remove and change the belt without this specialized tool: it’s not recommended to try it alone. Also shown here is the locking tool for the tensioner. A simple nail or drill-bit will also suffice, but the tool has a handy pull-end on it. Also shown here is a new drive belt.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
ThisPicture shows the fuel tank vent valve.
Figure 2
This picture shows the fuel tank vent valve. Simply squeeze the connectors on both the top and bottom of the valve, and pull the connectors off.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Squeeze the tabs on the connector and pull down to remove the lower connector to the fuel tank vent valve.
Figure 3
Squeeze the tabs on the connector and pull down to remove the lower connector to the fuel tank vent valve.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Squeeze the tabs on the connector and pull up to remove the upper connector to the fuel tank vent valve.
Figure 4
Squeeze the tabs on the connector and pull up to remove the upper connector to the fuel tank vent valve.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Pull the tab on the side of the electrical connector and pull down to remove it.
Figure 5
Pull the tab on the side of the electrical connector and pull down to remove it.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
ThisPicture shows the fuel tank vent valve being removed from it’s bracket on the engine.
Figure 6
This picture shows the fuel tank vent valve being removed from it’s bracket on the engine. Simply push the tab on the bracket inward and slide the valve off.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
In thisPicture, you can see the pins (green arrows) on the belt tensioner tool.
Figure 7
In this picture, you can see the pins (green arrows) on the belt tensioner tool. The fulcrum point (yellow arrow) fits over the upper tensioner bolt. The pins fit into two holes on the tensioner arm itself
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
You’ll now need to remove the plastic wheel liner to access the belt and pullies.
Figure 8
You’ll now need to remove the plastic wheel liner to access the belt and pullies. The liner is held in place by three Phillips head screws (purple arrows) and plastic rivets (green arrows). You may need to hold the out portion of the plastic rivet while you unscrew the center Phillips screw part.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Place the tensioner tool pins into the holes on the tensioner and use the upper tensioner locking bolt as a pivot point.
Figure 9
Place the tensioner tool pins into the holes on the tensioner and use the upper tensioner locking bolt as a pivot point.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Shown here is the tensioner in the locked position.
Figure 10
Shown here is the tensioner in the locked position. Rotate the tensioner tool until the second hole protrudes from the tensioner arm (yellow arrow). Once it shows, place the lock pin through the hole (green arrow). Once tension on the belt has been relieved, you can pull the belt off the various pullies. If the belt is cracked or damaged, you can simply cut it once tension has been relieved.
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
The procedure for changing the serpentine belt on the non-supercharged Cooper models is virtually the same, except that the tensioner is different.
Figure 11
The procedure for changing the serpentine belt on the non-supercharged Cooper models is virtually the same, except that the tensioner is different. In this picture, you can see the special tool used for the Cooper to retract the tensioner as well as the lock pin. (R50 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
To retract the belt tensioner on the Cooper, place the forks of the belt tool over the ear of the tensioner and press the tensioner back until you can insert the locking pin into the hole on the side of the tensioner (green arrow).
Figure 12
To retract the belt tensioner on the Cooper, place the forks of the belt tool over the ear of the tensioner and press the tensioner back until you can insert the locking pin into the hole on the side of the tensioner (green arrow). Once in place, you can let the tension off the belt tool and the tensioner is locked. You can now remove the belt. (R50 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
ThisPicture of the belt tensioner removed from the car shows more clearly how the tool locks into place behind the “ears” cast into the belt tensioner arm (green arrows).
Figure 13
This picture of the belt tensioner removed from the car shows more clearly how the tool locks into place behind the “ears” cast into the belt tensioner arm (green arrows). If you don’t have the belt tool, you can also insert a 3/8” drive ratchet into the square hole (purple arrow). Keep in mind that you will need quite a bit of leverage to move the arm, such as a breaker bar. Once the arm has been retracted enough, install the locking pin into the hole on the tensioner (yellow arrow). (R50 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
This diagram shows the components driven by the serpentine belt on a typical MINI Cooper four-cylinder engine.
Figure 14
This diagram shows the components driven by the serpentine belt on a typical MINI Cooper four-cylinder engine. Green Arrow - Alternator , Yellow Arrow - Water Pump, Purple Arrow - A/C Compressor, Red Arrow - Main Crankshaft Pulley, Blue Arrow - Tensioner for the serpentine belt (R50 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
This diagram shows the components driven by the serpentine belt on a typical MINI Cooper S four-cylinder engine.
Figure 15
This diagram shows the components driven by the serpentine belt on a typical MINI Cooper S four-cylinder engine. Orange Arrow - Supercharger , Yellow Arrow - Idler Pulley, Green Arrow - Alternator, Purple Arrow - A/C Compressor, Red Arrow - Main Crankshaft Pulley, Blue Arrow - Tensioner for the serpentine belt
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Begin removing the belt on the R55/56/57 MINI by removing the left front headlight.
Figure 16
Begin removing the belt on the R55/56/57 MINI by removing the right front headlight. Loosen and remove the four 10mm bolts holding it in place (green arrows). Once free, squeeze the connector on the back of the headlight to unplug it from the car. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
In order to access the tensioner, we will need to remove the upper support panel which MINI refers to as a “lock carrier”.
Figure 17
In order to access the tensioner, we will need to remove the upper support panel which MINI refers to as a “lock carrier”. Remove the two 13mm bolts at the end of the panel (green arrows), then remove the 10mm bolt next to the headlight (red arrow). Next, remove the two Torx bolts holding the right hood catch to the panel (yellow arrows). Now remove the two plastic pins securing the front grille to the panel, (purple arrow). (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
The right side of the lock carrier is similar.
Figure 18
The right side of the lock carrier is similar. Remove the right front headlight by loosening and remove the four 10mm bolts holding it in place (blue arrows). Remove the two 13mm bolts at the end of the panel (green arrows), remove the 10mm bolt next to the headlight (red arrow). Remove the two Torx bolts holding the right hood catch to the panel (yellow arrows). Now remove the two plastic pins securing the front grille to the panel, (purple arrow). Also remove the four 10mm bolts holding the right headlight in place and squeeze the black plastic connector on the back to disconnect it from the car. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Remove the plastic pin securing the washer fluid reservoir to the lock carrier.
Figure 19
Remove the plastic pin securing the washer fluid reservoir to the lock carrier. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
The last step to remove the lock bridge is to disconnect the hood release cable.
Figure 20
The last step to remove the lock bridge is to disconnect the hood release cable. Pry open the end of the black plastic connector. Inside, you’ll see the cable assembly. Pull the end of the cable out of the housing and remove the metal ball from the connector. Once free, pry the plastic connector piece up and out of the lock bridge. Carefully feed it through the hole while you remove the lock carrier. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Jack the front of the car up and secure it on jackstands.
Figure 21
Jack the front of the car up and secure it on jackstands. Remove the right front tire and begin to remove the wheel housing liner. This is held in place by plastic Phillips screws (green arrows), one Phillips dzus-type screw (blue arrow), one 10mm plastic nut, and two Torx screws (purple arrows). Once all the fasteners have been removed, carefully remove the liner. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
From inside the engine compartment, use a 30mm wrench to turn the belt tensioner assembly clockwise.
Figure 22
From inside the engine compartment, use a 30mm wrench to turn the belt tensioner assembly clockwise. Once fully turned, press the small pin (green arrow) in. This will lock the belt tensioner and slacken the belt. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
From inside the wheel well, locate the small plastic pull tab located on the water pump friction wheel (green arrow).
Figure 23
From inside the wheel well, locate the small plastic pull tab located on the water pump friction wheel (green arrow). NOTE: It will be difficult to see this as it’s tucked up inside. Pull the tab out as far as it will go. This will release the tension on the belt which rides in between the friction wheel and the crankshaft pulley. Now snake the old belt out from inside the engine bay. Take the new belt and fit it over all the pulleys, re-secure the pull tab up inside the friction wheel and rotate the belt tensioner clockwise again. As you do, it will release the locking pin. Now just re-install the wheel, wheel liner, lock bridge and headlights. (Mk2 MINI Cooper)
Large Image | Extra-Large Image
Need to buy parts for this project? Click here to order!
Bookmark and Share
Comments and Suggestions:
charger318 Comments: Excellent instructions, great info. This is from a fully qualified tech with a degree and 25 years in the trade. Anyone who leaves negative comments is very sad and ungrateful. The motor trade needs to share more info ,we all learn new things everyday. many thanks!
August 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tam Comments: FYI, on my June-'03 R53 Cooper S I found it wasn't necessary to move/remove anything to use the belt tool; just got it in place, compressed the tensioner and put the locking pin in place.
April 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
BigErn Comments: I replaced the belt on a 2003 Mini Cooper S and I end up removing the aluminum bracket that holds the motor onto the motor mount to have access to the tensioner.
I did not see this addressed in this instructions but as always your instruction here are awesome.
November 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback and additional info. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
bhaggen Comments: FYI! The left or right side of anything that is mobile, whether it be a car, human, or horse is ALLWAYS referenced by "in the direction it normally travels" Therefore the drive belt on a mini is on the same side your right hand would be when you're BEHIND the steering wheel! Do NOT remove the left wheel. You're working on the right side NOT the left! HELLO?
July 21, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lamb.chop Comments: Tip when fitting new belt onto an R53.
Fit it to the tensioner pulley last and then turn the crankshaft pulley round to allow the belt to fully fit onto the tensioner pulley....
May 17, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. With the belt tensioner retracted, you should install the belt onto all the pulleys before rotating the engine. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Pedro CMT Comments: Great info as always guys.
April 24, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback! - Nick at Pelican Parts  

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

 

Got more questions?  Join us in our MINI Cooper Technical Forum Message Board and ask a question to one of our many automotive experts.

Or, see what other questions readers have asked about this article...
  Applies to: R50 MINI Cooper (2002-06) - R53 MINI Cooper S (2002-06) - R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08) - R56 MINI Cooper (2007-) - R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2007-)
  Search our site:    

View Cart & CheckOut | Project List | Order Status |  Help    

 

[Home] [Customer Service] [Shopping Cart] [Project/Wish List]
  [Privacy Statement]  [Contact Us] [About Us] [Shipping]

Copyright © Pelican Parts Inc. -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page